Sample from Battle-Quick Exhibit Foundations

This is only a sample - one item from one page of the form. The full form checklist and text is over 20 pages long.

Computer animation, enhancement, or simulation

Some commentators and courts divide computer generated demonstrative evidence into two distinct categories of evidence: simulations and animations. (1) In a simulation, data is entered into a computer which is programmed to analyze the information and perform calculations by applying mathematical models, laws of physics and scientific principles in order to draw conclusions and recreate an incident. (2) An animation [See, e.g., Commonwealth v. Serge, 58 Pa. D. & C.4th 52, 68-69 (2001)] does not perform any scientific calculations but is only a graphic depiction of the testimony in the case. A third category [See., e.g., in State v. Swinton, 268 Conn. 781, 847 A.2d 921 (Conn. 2004), computer enhancement of photos or other physical items is sometimes encountered.

Although some courts have defined different standard foundations, (dependent on whether the computer generated demonstrative exhibit is an animation, enhancement, or simulation): "there is a developing consensus... which agrees on how the accuracy of computer-generated evidence can be established and gives a trial court sufficient parameters to exercise its discretion in this area without the need for a precise formula." Bray v. Bi-State Development Corp., 949 S.W.2d 93, 97 (Mo. App. 1997). Hence, the following foundation will generally work for computer generated demonstrative evidence, whether it be a computer animation, enhancement, or simulation. Here are the bullet points:

  • The computer equipment is accepted as standard and was in good order.
  • Qualified computer operators did the work and are available for cross-examination.
  • Proper procedures were followed in connection with the input of information.
  • The input data is qualified as accurate by establishing:
    • the source of the data;
    • how data accuracy was checked;
    • how data was physically input; and
    • what assumptions were input into the computer;
  • A reliable software program was utilized, one generally accepted by the relevant community.
  • The equipment was programmed and operated correctly.
  • The exhibit is identified as the output in question.
  • The exhibit will aid the trier of fact in understanding or evaluating testimony.
  • The exhibit will help the witness explain an item relevant to the issues in dispute.

If you need to delve further into attacking (or admitting) computer generated demonstrative exhibits, see generally the excellent discussions in State v. Swinton, 268 Conn. 781, 847 A.2d 921 (Conn. 2004); K. Butea, Seeing is Believing: A Practitioner's Guide to the Admissibility of Demonstrative Computer Evidence, 46 Clev. St. L. Rev. 511, 525 (1998); and E. Weinreb, 'Counselor, Proceed With Caution': The Use of Integrated Evidence Presentation Systems and Computer-Generated Evidence in the Courtroom, 23 Cardozo L. Rev. 393, 410 (2001).

This is only a sample - one item from one page of the form. The full form checklist and text is over 20 pages long.

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